From its inception and over the last two decades, the Internet has undergone significant change. It dramatically adapted to suit new network technologies and telecommunication services. The subsequent ability to engage in transactions for personal or professional use over the Internet has come to be known as electronic commerce or e-commerce. The most recent trend of e-commerce involves expanding the services offered and extending the reach to customers through powerful affordable computing and communications in portable forms (i.e., laptop computers, two-way pagers, PDAs, cellular phones). The mobility associated with these devices has resulted in naming this new trend mobile commerce or m-commerce (Leiner et al., 2002). This trend is fueled by a consumer interest in being able to access business services or to communicate with other consumers anytime and anywhere. It is also motivated by the interest of the business community to extend their reach to customers at all times and at all places.
This chapter starts by exploring the similarities and differences between m-commerce and e-commerce. In particular, contrasts will be made in the areas of communication modes, Internet access devices, development languages/ communication protocols, and enabling technologies. A consumer-centric m-commerce model outlining the various wireless interaction modes of the mobile consumer (m-consumer) is then presented, followed by a discussion of the needs and concerns of the m-consumer. M-consumer needs are then matched with relevant concerns, and special emphasis is given to the important areas of cost, wireless security, and wireless privacy. An m-commerce value network is then presented, outlining the roles of the different players within this industry. The roles of the various players within the m-commerce value network in addressing the m-consumer concerns are then discussed. The various business applications developed to address m-consumer needs are then presented and classified according to the different need areas. We also summarize the current technologies in support of such applications, indicating any shortcomings of such technologies that might stifle the consumer adoption rates of particular wireless business applications. Future technologies that could resolve such issues are also outlined. A global m-commerce market overview is provided. The chapter ends with a discussion and some future trends.